Music Boosters hosting gala to fund auditorium renovations

Music Boosters hosting gala to fund auditorium renovations

Smithfield Music Boosters president Michelle Manning-Pereira says the club will be hosting a gala in April to raise funds for renovations for the high school auditorium. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)

SMITHFIELD – Smithfield High School Music Boosters Club President Michelle Manning-Pereira said when she took her mother, who graduated from Smithfield High School in 1969, to see her daughters perform in the school’s auditorium, her mother gasped at what she saw.

“She said, ‘It’s exactly the same, like walking in a time capsule,’” Pereira said.

While there may have been a bit of nostalgia for her mother, Pereira said the situation here is unfortunate for the students who are working with outdated sound equipment under a 52-year-old ceiling.

The Music Boosters previously had success with the Take Your Seat fundraiser allowing the community to purchase plaques on seats to benefit the music department, and that work did not go unnoticed.

Pereira said Supt. Judy Paolucci approached the Music Boosters and asked if members were interested in forming a subcommittee teamed up with the School Department and administration to raise funds needed for the auditorium’s capital improvements.

“We jumped at the opportunity to help,” Pereira said.

Pereira said the auditorium is a shared community space that hosts events including high school plays, town meetings, and awards nights.

“This is where it all happens,” she said.

The group has started planning a fundraising gala for April, an event members believe will be the perfect opportunity to start the process of raising money for the auditorium.

On April 4, the Smithfield Music Boosters will host the Illuminate Gala at Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln, from 6 to 11 p.m. All proceeds will go toward auditorium renovations.

The event will feature food as well as several raffles and auctions in hopes of bringing in significant money for the auditorium.

Pereira said she is looking for local businesses to sponsor the event. Sponsorships can be purchased at multiple levels, including $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000. Sponsors will receive tickets and varying levels of recognition for their donations.

Pereira estimates that the auditorium needs about $425,000 in renovations and repairs. The project is long overdue, she said. The project is divided into two parts, including lighting and sound/stage, Pereira said.

“We said we wanted it renovated last year. Let’s show how invested we are in it,” she told The Valley Breeze & Observer.

The town cut funding for capital improvements at the schools for the current budget year. After adding $1 million in funding to the schools, town officials denied $422,819 in capital improvements for the auditorium.

Estimated at $175,000 to fix lighting and sound, the 52-year-old light fixtures and sound system will be replaced with state-of-the-art equipment. For too long, students have used the original soundboard and spotlight in place when the auditorium opened, Pereira said.

Stage repairs include cleaning and re-fireproofing the curtains, widening doors, and fixing ADA compliance issues, including front access to the stage.

“Our goal is to make it so anyone, no matter how they move into the auditorium, can enjoy the stage,” Pereira said.

“We’re giving the kids a disadvantage. They deserve to learn on the newest equipment and be able to put on spectacular performances,” she added.

For information on tickets, contact Pereira at mmpereira1@outlook.com .